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  Evidence In Murder Investigation Includes Cell Phones And DNA  
  Nicholas Burnett, of Boardman, Was Shot To Death Jan. 26 In Youngstown:   May 7, 2020 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Sometime around 10:00 p.m. or so on Sun., Jan. 26, Nicholas Burnett, 35, of 162 Erskine Ave., became the city of Youngstown, Ohio’s first homicide of 2020.
      Burnett’s bullet-riddled body was found in a Kia Forte registered to his fiance, 36-year-old Katherine Cerimele, in front of 720 Parkview Ave., Youngstown.
      To date, no arrests have been made in the murder, although Youngstown police did obtain DNA evidence in April from an Austintown man, whose criminal record shows a conviction for heroin possession.
      According to reports compiled by the Youngstown Police Department, police recovered perhaps as many as nine, 9mm casings from the Forte, and as well, also took swab’s from Burnett’s fingernails. Evidence in the investigation also includes two cell phones, according to records of Youngstown police.
      On the night of Jan. 26, Youngstown police officers Jacob Short and Ber Fronzaglio were informed possible gunshots were recorded on a shot-spotter near 720 Parkview.
      “Upon arrival, we observed a male [later identified as Nicholas Burnett] laying over the center console (of a Kia Forte) with several, apparent gunshot wounds to his head and body,” Officer Short said, adding several spent shell casings were observed inside the car, and multiple other (casings) outside, leading just west of the vehicle.”
      Officer Short immediately checked the victim and reported he could find no pulse, “nor was there a reaction from the male’s pupils when a light was shown in his eyes.”
      Footprints in the snow leading from the Kia Forte to the front porch of 724 Parkview were observed, Officer Short said. There, police spoke with Timothy Grace and Chassidy Oliveira.
      “Both stated they were sleeping...when they heard a noise that had woken them up,” Officer Short said, adding Grace “stated he heard a knock at his front door, but did not answer due to not expecting anyone at that time of night. Upon them not hearing anything further, Timothy said he looked outside, but did not see anyone, so he went back to laying down.”
      At the crime scene, Officer Short said a man identified as Desmond Duvall approached law enforcement officers and said someone from 724 Parkview had called him stating that someone was knocking on their door.
      “When we asked [Duvall] if he had heard or saw anything, he stated “he did not, and that his bedroom is on the opposite side of the house of where the incident occurred. He added that he did not even think they were gunshots that he heard,” Officer Short reported.
      On Apr. 10, the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office ruled that Burnett’s death was a homicide, and that Burnett died of multiple gunshot wound, “shot by one or more individuals.”
      * * * * * * * * * *
      Nicholas Burnett was a 2003 graduate of Boardman High School where he played football under Head Coach Garry Smith.
      Even before he graduated, Burnett’s first issues with drugs began when on Christmas Day, 2002, he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge by the Boardman Police Department.
      It was two years later that he met his fiance, apparently while both were enrolled at Youngstown State University.
      In 2005, Burnett was found guilty of underage possession of alcohol and placed on 12 months probation.
      He was back in court in 2013 on charges of receiving stolen property and misuse of a credit card. He was found guilty, but was back in court the following year on a probation violation stemming from the charges.
      At a probation violation hearing, Boardman Court Judge Joseph Houser ordered Burnett to undergo treatment at Meridian Care and extended his community control until all requirements were met.
      The case remained before the local court and in Jan., 2017, Judge Houser ordered Burnett back into a program with Meridian, extending his community control to Jan., 2018. The judge said if Burnett did not comply, he could face up to 119 days in jail.
      With the issues over receiving stolen property and misuse of a credit card still clouding his freedom, Burnett was arrested by Boardman police on Aug. 9, 2016 on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a drug abuse instrument.
      Those charges came after his fiance reported that she found Brunett unresponsive from an overdose.
      “Cerimele said she left 162 Erskine Ave. about 8:50 p.m. to run and grab a gallon of milk. Returning home at 9:10 p.m. she discovered Burnett in their office unresponsive. Cerimele grabbed one of Burnett’s suboxone strips and placed it in his mouth and called 9-1-1,” Ptl. Pat Klingensmith said at the time, adding “A hypodermic needle and a burnt spoon containing heroin residue were located on the desk where Burnett was found.”
      Seven days later, Burnett was charged with possession of drug abuse instruments and possession of drug paraphernalia after police responded to a traffic accident at the corner of Shadyside Dr. and Southern Blvd.
      “A white male, later identified as Nicholas Burnett, was found passed out in a Chevy Equinox with the vehicle still running and in gear,” Ptl. Nicholas Asimakopoulos said, adding “He had a syringe in his hand and a burnt spoon on the front passenger seat.”
      In Feb., 2017, Burnett was arrested by Youngstown police and a month later was indicted on charges of possession of cocaine.
      He received a court-appointed attorney on the charges, now Youngstown Muni Judge Renee DiSalvo, who promptly filed a motion for treatment in lieu of conviction.
      But Burnett never showed-up in court on the charge until May of 2018 when he pled guilty to the cocaine charge, at the same time when Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum denied the motion for treatment in lieu of conviction noting his denial was “a result of the defendant’s whereabouts being unknown since Apr. 26, 2017.”
      But the judge didn’t sentence Burnett to jail, instead ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
      It was on July 16, 2018, with Rashaan Dykes of the Community Corrections Association (CCA) in court, that the prosecution and defense agreed that Burnett be placed on a period of community control for two years to be supervised by the Adult Parole Authority.
      Judge Krichbaum ordered Burnett to complete a Resident Treatment Program provided by the CCA.
      * * * * * * * * * *
      Three days after Burnett was found on Parkview Ave., his parole officer, Brigitte Lincoln, recommended his community control be terminated, noting Burnett was “pronounced deceased due to gunshot wounds.”
 
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